Land Measures
in the ancient laws of Wales

The Commissioners of the Public Records of the Kingdom.
Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales; Comprising Laws Supposed to be enacted by Howel the Good, Modified by subsequent regulations under the Native Princes Prior to the Conquest by Edward the First: and anomalous Laws, Consisting Principally of Institutions which by the Statute of Ruddlan were admitted to continue in force: With an English Translation of the Welsh Text. to which are added A Few Latin Transcripts, containing digests of the Welsh laws, principally of the Dimetian Code. With Indexes and Glossary. Volume I.
London: Printed by Command of His Late Majesty King William IV, 1841.

Only a few samples of the original Welsh are shown here. Unfortunately no browser fonts we know of have all the characters used in this 1814 edition.

Venedotian Code

II. Messur [yrJ eru gyureythyaul [yu] petwar troetued yn [hytJ y uerryeu [acJ uyth yn [hytJ yr eyl yeu [aJ deudec yn [hytJ y gesseylyeu [acJ unarbymthec ynyr hyryeu; a gwyalen gyhyt a honno yn lIau y geylwat, ar Hau arall [idaoJ ar yr yacur peruet yr [hirJ yeu,' ahyt y kyrhaydo ahonno o bop parth ydau yu llet yr eru ay dec arugeyn yny hyt. Ereyll adyweyt y mae gwyalen gyhyt ar gur huyaw auo yny trew ay lau uch y ben ac [ynJ unryu gerdet 4ar honno ac ary llall.

[Book II, Chapter] XII. The Law of Brothers for Land
[pages 167 and 169]

2. The measure of the legal erw is, four feet in the length of the short yoke, and eight in the length of the second yoke, and twelve in the length of the lateral yoke, and sixteen in the long yoke; and a rod as long as that, in the hand of the driver, with his other hand upon the middle spike of the long yoke, and as far as he can reach with that rod on each side of him, is the breadth of the erw; and thirty times that is the length. Others say, that it is to be a rod as long as the tallest man in the “trev”, with his hand above his head, and proceeding in a similar manner as in the other.

[Book II, Chapter] XVII. Of the laws of Dyvnwal Moel Mud, and of measure.
[pages 185-189 ]

V. Ar messur hunnu a uessurus Dywynwal urth [e] gronẏn heẏd: trẏ hẏt [y] gronẏn heẏd ẏnẏ uoduet [a] teẏr moduet ẏn llet [y] palẏw trẏ llet [y] palẏw ẏnẏ troetued, trẏ troeduet ẏnẏ cam, trẏ cham ẏnẏ neẏt trẏ neẏt ẏnẏ tẏr, sew ẏu ẏ tẏr/ o Gẏmraec newẏd gron, a mẏl or tẏr yu/ [e] mẏlltẏr. Ac or messur hunno [yd] ẏdẏs ẏn arueru [ema] etwa./

5. And that measure Dyvnwal measured by a barley corn: three lengths of a barley corn in the inch; three inches in the palm breadth; three palm breadths in the foot; three feet in the pace; three paces in the leap; three leaps in a land, the land, in modern Welsh, is called a ridge; and a thousand of the lands is a mile. And that measure we still use here.

6. And then they made the measure of the legal erw by the barley corn: three lengths of a barley corn in an inch; three inches in the palm breadth; three palm breadths in the foot; four feet in the short yoke; and eight in the field yoke;/ and twelve in the lateral yoke; and sixteen in the long yoke: and a rod, equal in length to that long yoke,/ in the hand of the driver, with the middle spike of that long yoke in the other hand of the driver, and as far as he can reach with that rod, stretching out his arm, are the two skirts of the erw, that is to say, the breadth of a legal erw;/ and thirty of that is the length of the erw.

7. Four such erws are to be in every tyddyn.

8. Four tyddyns in every “randir.”

9. Four randirs in every “gavael.”

10. Four gavaels in every trev.

11. Four trevs in every maenol.

12. And twelve maenols and two trevs in every cymwd. The two trevs are for the use of the king; one of them to be maertrev land for him; and the other to be the king's waste and summer pasture; and as much as we have said above is to be in the other cymwd; that is in number five score trevs; and that is the cantrev rightly: ten times ten is to be in every hundred; and numeration goes no further than ten.

13. This is the number of erws in the cantrev: four legal erws of tillage in every tyddyn; sixteen in every randir; sixty-four in every gavael; two hundred and fifty-six in the trev; one thousand and twenty-four in every maenol; twelve thousand two hundred and eighty-eight in the twelve maenols. In the two trevs which pertain to the court there are to be five hundred and twelve erws: the whole of that, when summed up, is twelve thousand and eight hundred erws in the cymwd; and the same number in the other cymwd: that is, the number of erws in the cantrev is twenty-five thousand and six hundred, neither more nor less.

14. Of the twelve maenols, which are to be in the cymwd, four are assigned to aillts to support dogs and horses, and for progress and “dovraeth”; and one for canghellor-ship; and one other for maer-ship; and the rest for free uchelwrs.

15. And from those eight the king is to have a gwestva every year; that is, a pound yearly from each of them: three-score pence are charged on each trev of the four that are in a maenol, and so subdivided into quarters in succession, until each erw of the tyddyn be assessed: and that is called the tunc pound; and the silentiary is to collect it annually: and a similar payment in full from the other cymwd: and thus the cantrev is complete.

Dimetian Code

[Book II, Chapter] XX. Thus a suit concerning land is elucidated

7. There are to be three hundred and twelve erws in the lawful randir; so that the owner may have in the three hundred erws arable, pasture, and fuel wood, and space for buildings on the twelve erws.

8. There are sixteen feet in the length of the long yoke; and there are sixteen yokes in the length of the erw, and two in its breadth.

9. There are to be seven trevs in a lowland maenor; thirteen trevs in an upland maenor.

10. The king is to have half a pound when a boundary is set out between two trevs; and the judges twenty-four pence.

11. The king is to have half a pound from every randir that is adjudged by law to a person.

12. When a trev is adjudged to a person, to which there is office attached, the king is to have one pound and a half from him.

Gwentian Code

[Book II, Chapter] XXXIII. Randirs.
[pages 767-769]

1. There are to be four randirs in the trev, from which the king's gwestva shall be paid.

2. And there are eighteen feet in the rod of Howel the good; and eighteen such rods are to be the length of the erw, and two rods in breadth.

3. Three hundred and twelve erws, according to that, are to be in the randir, between clear and brake, wood and field, and wet and dry; except a supernumerary trev the upland has in addition.

4. There are to be thirteen trevs in every 'maenor,' and the thirteenth of these is the supernumerary trev.

5. In each free trev with office, and free trev without office, there are four randirs; three for occupancy, and the fourth pasturage for the three randirs.

6. There are three randirs in the taeog-trev; there are three taeogs in each of the two, and the third pasturage for the two.

7. There are seven trevs in the maenol of the taeog-trevs.


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